This Week in the News serves as The Quad’s space for reflection on current events at and around UCLA. Every week, Daily Bruin staffers will analyze some of the most significant stories to keep readers up to speed.
Trees fell. People gathered downtown for the third annual Los Angeles Women’s March. UCLA gymnastics received its highest total score of the season – and its third perfect 10.
Despite the fact that most of us only spent four days of the week going to class, things didn’t slow down much at all. Here are some of the biggest stories that came out this week.
Bruin Walk might be feeling a little bit bare this week, after the large tree in front of Ackerman Union fell down Friday afternoon.
It wasn’t the only one either: Another tree fell later in the three-day weekend, at Veteran and Levering, southwest of campus. Though the tree in front of Ackerman didn’t cause any injuries or damage, the tree on Veteran did damage two cars.
Tree fall this time of year isn’t particularly uncommon – back in February 2017, a tree fell on Kelton Avenue, smashing through the window of an apartment complex, raising concerns about the street’s safety. Just last April, another tree fell on the same street, damaging two vehicles in its path.
Experts believe trees are more susceptible to falling during periods of rainy whether due to the rainwater loosening the soil – with a little bit of wind, these trees are more likely to fall.
Just about a year ago, UCLA Extension announced it would lay off about 25 percent of its employees. Though UCLA Extension interim vice provost Tom Oser later stated that the layoffs planned for last year never actually happened, about 75 people voluntarily left their positions at UCLA Extension.
This mass resignation – nearly a third of the school’s staff – comes at a time of major administrative upheaval for the institution. Just last year, UCLA Extension had one dean and two associate deans, but by the beginning of 2019, all three had left.
A number of UCLA Extension employees spoke to The Bruin, remaining anonymous out of concern for job security. One employee alleged that the former dean, Wayne Smutz, was asked to retire after a number of dodgy moves, from unethically hiring former colleagues to mismanaging large amounts of money.
Amid the destabilization of UCLA Extension’s administrative structure, another employee said many staffers were concerned for their job safety. However, they are hopeful that the new administration will lead the institution down the right path.
For the third year in a row, thousands of activists and protestors gathered downtown for the Los Angeles Women’s March.
Turnout for the protest was lower than the last two years’ marches, which were two of the largest single-day protests in American history, according to the Atlantic. Attendees focused their rhetoric around women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, racial equality and health care reform.
Amid recent claims of anti-Semitism made against the leaders of the national Women’s March Inc., NBC News reported local marches saw a sharp drop in support. The accusations are largely targeted at the organization’s co-president Tamika Mallory, who has shown support for Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, who has been criticized for anti-Semitism. According to The New York Times, Mallory also allegedly claimed Jews are complicit in racism.
While some students told The Bruin they found the Women’s March empowering and positive, Justin Feldman, a fourth-year Middle Eastern studies student and member of Students Supporting Israel, expressed concern over the normalization of anti-Semitism in progressive groups like the Women’s March.
Coming off an injury from last season, junior Madison Kocian scored a perfect 10 on the uneven bars Monday at the Bruins’ second home matchup of the year.
With more than 10,000 Bruin fans packed into Pauley Pavilion, No. 2 UCLA gymnastics defeated No. 19 Arizona State, outscoring them 197.775 to 196.125. Kocian’s perfect 10 was the team’s third of the season, with senior Katelyn Ohashi and junior Kyla Ross both having scored perfect 10s at last weekend’s meet in Anaheim.
The Bruins’ score of 49.700 on the uneven bars was also their highest score of the season on the event, as well as their best event score at the meet. While Kocian scored the only perfect score of the afternoon, sophomore Nia Dennis earned a 9.950 on vault, while freshman Norah Flatley and Ross scored 9.975 and 9.950 on bars, respectively.
Come this weekend, the Bruins will face the Stanford Cardinal in their next meet Sunday.